A Lift-and-Shift SAP Payroll Implementation

  • by Owen McGivney, Senior Consultant, iProCon Ltd.
  • January 14, 2014
Sometimes employees need to move from one SAP payroll system to a different one due to a corporate buyout, merger, or reorganization. Often the existing terms and conditions are preserved, so effectively the old SAP payroll system has to be reimplemented in the new SAP system. I discuss some methods, shortcuts, and pitfalls learned from my own project implementation experience.
Learning Objectives

Reading this article you will:

  • Learn how to extract payroll configuration from an existing SAP payroll system and reimplement it in another
  • Learn some valuable project management tips from the lessons discussed in the example case study
Key Concept

The term lift and shift typically refers to the idea of replicating an old IT system on a newer version. The goal of this method is to replicate what the original system does as much as possible without the need for significant changes or a redesign of the business processes.

Sometimes an existing SAP ERP HCM payroll system has to be re-implemented in another SAP system as part of a business merger or reorganization. Because the source and target payroll systems are both based on SAP applications, project owners and planners may assume that this switch will be an easy swap-over or, at the very least, that it will be more straightforward than a brand-new implementation. In reality, however, it can be much more complex to build into an existing system than a greenfield project as a number of additional challenges and constraints can be presented.

A recent project I was involved with clearly demonstrated this. My client, a large company, purchased a small business unit within a large UK energy utility company. This acquisition involved the transfer of a small group of highly specialized employees to the new company. As both companies had large mature SAP ERP HCM systems for administering HR and payroll in place, the view was that the payroll functionality easily could be replicated in the new system. I was part of the team tasked with implementing the SAP ERP HCM and payroll functionality with the new system based on a lift-and-shift approach. Here’s what happened.

Familiarity with basic SAP HR payroll processes and with some key configuration steps and items (e.g., payroll schema and wage types) is required.

Owen McGivney

Owen McGivney is a senior consultant at iProCon Ltd., part of the iProCon group, based in London, England. He has worked on implementing SAP HR and payroll systems since 1998. Owen has delivered UK, Irish, and multi-national payroll solutions for a wide range of private- and public-sector clients. He has a special interest in combining ABAP programming with configuration to create innovative and effective solutions.

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1/15/2014 7:57:59 AM
Somdeb Banerjee

Hi Owen,

Thank you for sharing this priceless experience.
That was an eye-opener indeed.


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